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Saturday, 20 September 2014

WordPress Daily Prompt: Brevity Pulls

“I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.” — Blaise Pascal Where do you fall on the brevity/verbosity spectrum?



Small Toitoiseshell butterfly


Butterflies have a brief life. They spend months developing in their caterpillar form. One day they awake as a fully-fledged small tortoiseshell butterfly with enough time to manufacture a few eggs and that’s that. Something like our prompts perhaps. We only have a day to construct our meaningful words, but the length of the days dwindles when the daily prompt does not appear at the usual time. I think I will have to make a telephone call.

No-one is picking up. The phone is ringing and ringing. Is no-one at home?

“Wordy WordPress guy talking, can I help you?”

“Hello Wordy, Angloswiss here. At last you have answered the phone. I was worried that something had happened.”

“I was having a sleep Mrs. Angloswiss. It is my day off today and so I was making the most of it. Do you have a problem with the brevity/verbosity spectrum?”

“Oh come on Wordy, of course I have a problem with the brevity/verbosity spectrum. I always have enough to say, but have problems with keeping it short and sweet. At least today this problem has disappeared.”

“That’s great Mrs Angloswiss. I am always glad to be of help.”

“No Wordy, you don’t get it. I have no problem today because I have no Daily Prompt. Your stand-in, the person that is supposed to be doing your work on your day off, has forgotten to pull the switch and I am locked out, together with about 100 other daily prompt colleagues. We are blocked, forced to sit at the computer and watch a blank screen. Wordy, pull yourself together, take off your WordPress pyjama and put on the t-shirt. Move and go to headquarters.”

“But it is my day off Mrs. Angloswiss. If I do that I will be breaking union rules and my boss will not be pleased. There might even be a strike.”

“Wordy this is an emergency. How can I apply brevity to my verbosity when I don’t even have a spectrum?”

“Mrs. Angloswiss you seem to have a problem. I will do my best. Oh no!”

“What’s wrong Wordy?”

“I was hurrying to get dressed and cleaning my teeth and now I have toothpaste stains on my nice new clean freshly ironed t-shirt. That will give minus points at headquarters.”

“Wordy, if you do not do the necessary with the daily prompt it will give more than minus points at my place. There will be no freshly baked chocolate cake waiting for you, just bread and water.”

“I am on my way Mrs. Angloswiss, just have to comb my hair.”

“You have hair? Don’t bother Wordy, you always wear a WordPress baseball cap in any case. I have never seen your hair.”

“Of course I have hair, but at WordPress they told me to do the uniform cut – Bruce Willis style. This saves time and I can have a shave as well.”

“Wordy I give you five minutes to arrive shaved or not shaved. Three day beards are quite sexy. Ask the nice Mr. Hubermann to beam you up to headquarters. It is now 4 p.m. Swiss time. This is an emergency.”

He hung up and is probably on his way. In the meanwhile my brevity/verbosity spectrum has been forced to wait, and what is it all about anyway? I don’t do refurbs on my blogs, or rewrites and shortening them does not come into the question. It is not my style. I prefer to go round three or four corners before I actually say what I want to say.

Wait a minute Blaise Pascal lived from 1623-1662 and was a mathematician. Did he ever write a blog?


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Friday, 19 September 2014

WordPress Daily Prompt: Delayed Contact

How would you get along with your sibling(s), parent(s), or any other person you’ve known for a long time — if you only met them for the first time today?



Dead Rose


I could tell you all about Uncle Nick. Now if you met him for the first time, you would probably run and hide. He did have the habit of flying around on full moon nights wearing a long black cloak and sharpening his teeth on a file. The teeth were very pointed and I am sure he could have bitten through a tree trunk if necessary. However, he only used them for jugular veins on the necks of various animals or people and they often made blood stains on his white shirt. Not that it bothered him, he just continued as usual. I suppose it is as they say, you can pick your friends, but not your family.

He would work at the local blood bank on the night shift. He slept most of the day, although when the days got shorter in Winter he had a twilight hour job helping the local undertaker. Getting along with Uncle Nick was an overstatement. He was a quiet person, did not mix very much and liked to keep himself to himself. His wife Aunty Dementia was a wonderful person. I remember she always took her broomstick with her when she went shopping. She had a thing for cleanliness. She said it was quicker than the bus or train. Both Uncle Nick and Aunty Dementia are no longer with us in body, but they left their cat, Boris in my care. He loves to go for a walk in the evening and I often accompany him on an excursion to the nearby cemetery. It is almost as if he senses where the remains of Nick and Dementia lay. Unfortunately some nights the grave is empty as they seem to have a wandering spirit.

If you ever meet Boris I would not advise to pat him on the head or stroke his long black fur. He is very sensitive to human touch and it might be that he turns his head and sinks his fangs teeth into your hand. If he draws blood do not worry He has a long sharp tongue and will gladly lick it up for you. Yes that was an unforgettable family.

“Get down Boris and stop annoying that rat in the corner. Ah, you are hungry. Here is a nice bloody steak. Boris do not just bite meat and swallow it, chew it first of all. It will be much easier to digest. Ah, that is not necessary, is slides down nicely in lumps.”

I cannot remember the first time I met that happy family, they were always there and never really left us.

Of course, there was cousin Smokey. He was the son of Nick and Dementia. I think Nick was disappointed in him as he did not seem to live up to the family tradition. He worked for the local fire brigade. He loved things that went up in smoke and if there was no fire he always seemed to find something to burn. He hated school, but he was a lucky cousin. The school burnt down and he had only been there a few weeks. Of course he was under suspicion because someone saw him with a magnifying glass holding it in the sun’s rays over the wooden school door. When questioned he said he was practicing spontaneous combustion for his chemistry lesson at school so no further investigations were carried out.

Smokey had a brother. He had a nickname and was known as “The Strangler”. We do not talk about him. He managed to escape from prison and was last heard of somewhere in Eastern Europe. He seemed to be the black sheep of the family.

So, that will do. Speaking about family members or friends that I have known for a long time is a personal thing and I am sure they would not like to know that I am giving their private details all over Internet. Nick’s family are an exception. They did not really have any friends and most of their relations disowned them. “Boris, down boy, I have a nice piece of liver for you for lunch, but avoid making blood stains on your fur, it does not make a good impression.


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Thursday, 18 September 2014

WordPress Daily Prompt: Ready, Set, Done

Today, write about anything — but you must write for exactly ten minutes, no more, no less.



Two crows are watching you


Ok, so how am I supposed to write for ten minutes under the eyes of two watchful crows on the rooftop opposite.

“Don’t mind us, we are just sitting around taking five before flying off to the cemetery.”

“But you are putting me off, I cannot concentrate on my prize suspicious blog under the beady eyes of two crows.”

“What are you writing about, us?”

“How could I avoid not mentioning two watching crows, you are making my fingers nervous. I have to write for ten minutes.”

“Fred” said one crow to the other “do you think we could give her something to write about for ten minutes.?”

“I think so Mortimer, she could tell everyone how it feels to be watched by two crows.”

“No crows, I was thinking more of something creative and sorry, but crows are not creative.”

“Of course we are, have you never seen us crack a nut? Not all the feathered friends can crack a nut, I am sure a budgerigar couldn’t.”

“Just a minute crows, budgerigars live in Australia and do not need to crack nuts, they eat seeds.”

“See Fred, I told you, humans think they know everything better. Budgerigars live in cages. Mrs. Smith across the road has a cage with a budgerigar. It even talks.”

“We can talk as well Mortimer. How comes that human down there understands us?”

“I gave her the power so that she could write about us in her blog.”

“Good idea Mortimer.”

“Ok, thanks for the crow language gift, but I was actually going to write about something more important and not two crows who are going on the cemetery tour.”

“There is nothing better than a crow’s eye view of a cemetery: all those nice big stones and urns. We have quite a gathering most days. It is a real crow’s paradise. Oh, sorry Mrs. Human, are we disturbing your thought process? Carry on, just ignore us.”

“How can I ignore you when you are looking at me all the time?”

“Just a minute. Mortimer, I think the boss is calling. He says to have a gathering on the third tree on the left. It is going to be a group excursion: looks like we have to go Mrs. Human. It was nice talking to you. Now you can carry on with your prize winning blog. We will no longer distract you.”

And they flew off together, cawing along the way; and now to continue. No, wait a minute. My ten minutes are up.

“Hey, man in the WordPress t-shirt, what do you think? Can I have five minutes extra? It might make a difference for a Pulitzer Prize. What did you say, no deal. My place is reserved in the magical grid, upload it now.”

In that case I will take a walk to the cemetery after uploading. Typical WordPress mumble, mumble, mumble.


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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

WordPress Daily Prompt: Happy Radars

Are you a good judge of other people’s happiness? Tell us about a time you were spot on despite external hints to the contrary (or, alternatively, about a time you were dead wrong).



P1000240


If you are greeted at your butchers shop with this sort of reception then you know you should handle the assistant with care. Begin the conversation with “good morning” and perhaps a friendly smile. If she is still holding the knife and begins to sharpen the blade then it is better to move onto the self-service section where the meat is packed in cellophane. It seems that the butcher’s lady might have had a bad beginning to the day. She is smiling, but a forced smile as if to say “I dare you”. (Many thanks to my colleague for posing for the photo and she let me live). It happens rarely in the butcher’s department and up to now I have heard of no deaths, murders or slaughter by butcher’s knife in this supermarket, so I was dead wrong.

On the other hand this might be your greeting


P1090279


What more could you wish for: a happy smiling angel at the entrance to the supermarket. You feel safe and secure and what could possibly go wrong. I was sure that my shopping would be a successful task on this day. The angel sent me on my way with a leaflet advertising some Christmas bargains Those supermarkets do not organise angels for nothing, there must be a profit hidden somewhere. I was very happy to be photographed with an angel. Mr. Swiss found that taking photos of me with an angel for some sort of blog in the near or far future was not the idea when visiting a supermarket. The angel had fun and found it made a change to her boring angel day. I sensed that Mr. Swiss was unhappy.

As far as judging other people’s happiness or not, forget it. I have never seen a laughing, smiling undertaker (it would probaby be bad for business) or a miserable clown (unless he was paid to be miserable). Mr. Swiss was slightly miserable today as he decided it was the day to rid the tiles at the edge of the garden from the various weeds that decided to take root in between. It is not an easy job as you have to bend to do the work and each root must be separately removed from the narrow spaces. I judged he was not happy to do this work, but am sure that when he has completed the job he will be a happy bunny, although perhaps tinged with some random complaints about back ache.

This morning a piercing voice carved through the area outside my garden and I saw the flash of a naked cat body race through the surroundings on his way home. I saw the cat hating neighbour stalk out of her apartment which is on the ground floor, still muttering incantations. In this case I was a good judge of other people’s happiness. The neighbour did not treasure the unwanted visit of a Sphynx cat in her apartment (not everyone’s cup of tea) and the Sphynx cat and the neighbour were both very unhappy. That does not need an expert or a blog description: that is common sense.

I will have to have a few words with my friend Wordy, the little guy that wears a WordPress t-shirt about the themes of the prompts. They are OK, but not a great inspiration for my literature. More of these sort of prompts, and my Pulitzer Literature Prize is in danger.


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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

WordPress Daily Prompt: Absolute Beauty

We’ve all heard that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Do you agree? is all beauty contingent on a subjective point of view?



DSC_3175


I am sure his mother loves him and finds him the most beautiful feline in the neighbourhood. She adores every crease and fold of his skin: his oversized ears, streamlined tail and even his extra-terrestrial style eyes. My felines do not like him, they see no beauty in their eyes, only a threat to their territory and Tabby tells me his smells. My felines make strange noises and I have to be prepared to stop a cat fight: scratching a cat with fur is not so bad, but scratching a naked cat could bring problems, especially when his value is about 1,000 Swiss Francs. My cats also have a value, but on the cat market no-one would be interested. Fluffy is blind so his Selkirk Rex value no longer exists and Tabby was born out of wedlock and we never discovered who her father was. I am sure her mother did not realise which tom cat it was either, but they were also loved by their mothers, and now we love them. We even love the Sphynx cat in the photo, but from a distance. He is really something completely different.

Yes beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder. We all have our own tastes in what beauty actually is and that is good so. If everyone thought I was unique in my beauty there would be problems. Mr. Swiss would have to fight off all my admirers. Up to now this has not been the case (I think).As it is, we are two golden oldies enjoying the beauty that we behold in each other.

I often have spiders in my garden, but I leave them to live their spidery life outdoors. They have fun spinning nets, and making lunch parcels of the flies with their threads. Perhaps we do not find them attractive, but one day a male spider sees the lady of his dreams. Her eight slim legs approach Mr. Spider, they look at each other deep in their eight eyes (although it seems they are quite short sighted) and cupid shoots its arrow. They have found the beauty they are searching for, although it seems that some female spiders devour their partners after the act of producing a new generation. This is the peak of absolute beauty. The male spider sacrifices itself as he is blinded by the beauty of his partner, but his genes live on.

I have slugs in the garden as I have mentioned in a few numerous blogs. They are slimy, come in all lengths and widths and are naked. They eat certain plants to an extent that they die,  but they are loved by other slugs. As slugs are hermaphrodite, they are a do-it-yourself species, but it seems that they still rely on another slug for the process.

Two slugs meet by chance

“Hello beautiful, what about it?”

“Why not, you have such a lovely slimy body.”

“Let’s do it?”

“You are so irresistible and what lovely optical tentacles you have, so dainty; a picture of beauty.”

“Are you looking after the kids afterwards, or shall I”?

“I don’t think that is important. Eggs are eggs, I am sure they will survive; each one is as beautiful as its brother/sister. Just bury the eggs in a nice place, where they have a view of a favourite slug menu to be sure they do not hunger when they hatch.”

And so the slugs go there way, after strenuous coupling exercise, satisfied with their efforts to prolong the race and blinded by the beauty of their mate. Yes, love speaks all languages.

We all have our own ideas of beauty. If there were no slugs I would have no purpose in my garden, slug hunting is a worthwhile sport and I just discovered that they are a source of food for birds. Spiders keep the fly and insect population under control and Sphnyx cats give me a chance for a good photo. I like the last sentence “is all beauty contingent on a subjective point of view?”, but having lost a little contact to the details of the English language, I will leave that answer open
,
as to be quite honest I did not really understand it.. The main thing is that I know what I like and so does Mr. Swiss.


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Monday, 15 September 2014

WordPress Daily Prompt: Overload Alert

“Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.” — Gertrude Stein Do you agree?



Peeled Peppers


Such a variety of colour, so many peppers peeled and ready for the chilli. Ok, so I am just showing off with my prize suspicious photo taking last Saturday whilst preparing the evening meal. With such an overload of colour I did not lose my common sense, and everyone was satisfied with the result.

Otherwise, what is this all about? I get information all day long if I search for information all day long, and I do not. I have not got the time. Now and again I have to work, like use my hands, energy to operate the vacuum cleaner, keep the windows clean and make sure that the toilets and bathroom are human friendly. I do not sit on the computer all day searching for  all sorts of trivial information.

Who was Gertrud Stein that she can advise me on life’s wisdom? I know she was a writer, so what did I do? What everyone else does in such a situation. I had a look in Internet and let myself be bombarded with information. I did not lose my common sense because Gertrud Stein lived from 1874 to 1946 (my birth year) and seemed to have spent most of her time, when not writing books, writing quotes for us all to follow. I found five pages of many quotes from Gertrud Stein. Did she have nothing better to do with her time than write quotes for us all to follow? Probably she was so busy advising us of her wise thoughts that she lost her common sense eventually. I even discovered that she was buried in Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris. If I had been more careful when on my tourist trip of the cemetery I could have put one of my famous photos of her grave on this blog.

Mr. Swiss is quite up in famous people, so I asked him who she actually was. The main thing he told me was that she was a friend of Ernest Hemingway. So Gertrud, thanks to Mr. Swiss (and Wikipedia), I know all about you.

Mr. Swiss loves to inform himself. His favourite programmes on the TV are political discussions. Every Friday late in the evening we have a Swiss discussion group. Politicians, philosophers, prominent people all discuss a certain theme. I read a book whilst the programme is running. Before it begins I ask “What is it all about this evening” and when I know I continue reading my book. I must admit all these wise people with their discussion tend to bore me.

Switzerland has a pastime called voting. We vote at least once every two months. If someone or a political party has a bright idea, signatures are collected and we can all go voting to say yes or no. To accompany this voting mania we are supplied with documentation. Another thing I leave to Mr. Swiss to read. I normally receive a completed slip for the voting session with Ja or Nein written in Mr. Swiss handwriting and told sign on the dotted line.

“What’s it all about this time?”

“Nothing important, but I decided ………….”

Ok I give him his due he does try to explain and I even listen with one ear. If my one ear picks up a word that might interest me I take a deeper look, but generally I do not change very much. In the last couple of years there was one item where I disagreed, but in comparison with the voting trials we have to overcome, this was a small percentage.

Everyone to their own: I have never thought of Facebook being information, more misinformation so I now basically remain on my own little page in that strange place where the misinformed meet, and I cross post my WordPress words of wisdom. Do I read newspapers? Yes, online when I wake up in the morning in bed on my iPhone. Why? Because I noticed that if I do I will fall asleep again for a further half hour. This is especially beneficial if I have not slept so well. The difference 30 minutes relaxed brain can achieve.

There is also the logical reasoning, if you never had any common sense, then how can you lose it.

On these wise words I will leave you. Perhaps one day the theme of the daily prompt will be
“If you never had any common sense, how can it be lost.” — Angloswiss

Do you agree?


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